Thursday, March 18, 2010

At What Price, Victory?

It's been a hectic month. But as things calmed down, I had a chance to chill out with my shaman officer. We spent a while talking about the old Legacy. It was an interesting and enlightening conversation, that dragged on entirely too late at a night, but all the same, was worth every second.

Last night, Legacy lost a long time member. One of our arcane mages left the server. Wound up in a guild on Firetree horde-side that just got their first kill of Deathbringer Saurfang last week. I kind of feel like the QB who got dumped for the fat guy... This departure kinda stung, because she was one of the few remaining members of the guild who remember the simpler times. Back when I wasn't the GM, I was just another member of a guild struggling to down Thaddius. There was a dynamic to the relationship that simply can't be found with the newer members, as they've only experienced me as their guild and raid leader. There are really very few members of the guild still running with us who remember those times.
  • Members of Legacy who predate my GMship: 7
  • Members of Legacy who predate my membership: 4
  • Members of Legacy who were there for the first raid: 2
  • Members of Legacy who were there on the first day: 1

Spinks had a recent post asking what you were willing to sacrifice on the altar of progression. This got me thinking about the Mage leaving, and tied back to the conversation with the Shaman. Legacy has made progress. I've built a guild that went from being ranked in the mid 60s on the server to the top 10. What have I sacrificed? We don't raid any more hours than we did back then, fewer actually. So I didn't give up time. Of my real life friends who play, they're all in the guild, so I didn't give them up. I didn't have to give up tanking. I didn't have to compromise my schedule. What have I sacrificed?

Then it hit me. Between the Shaman and I, we remembered most of the member of the guild, past and present. We remember why they left, and what they did afterwords. What guilds they came from, and what guilds they went to. I started checking back. Legacy made a lot of changes to get where we are. I took over as GM, we built a website, we switched to a dkp system, we changed the raid attendance criteria, and changed the raid schedule. Each step of the way, people left. Some people continued playing, some did not. But in every case, someone who was at the time completely happy with their guild, found it so far changed that they couldn't stay in it. For the 8 of us who are happy with all the changes made, there are at least 54 people that we know of who either quit raiding, or quit wow altogether due to those choices. There's another 70 or so who still raid with other guilds.

That's what I've sacrificed to get the progression I desired, other people's happiness. It's a sobering thought, and one that kind of eats at me from time to time. Every time that one of those people who thought they found a place that suits them leaves, it bleeds a little bit of the color out of the game for me. Every time one of them leaves, it isolates me a little bit more from the time when I was just another player. At times, I hate it, but in retrospect, if I could, I think I'd make every one of those choices the same way again.


  1. I think what you wrote is something anyone in a position to set course for a guild should keep in mind. However, you may be overstating the case if you think every single person that leaves a guild does so because it was changed. Some leave because the guild didn't change enough, and some because their life circumstances have changed, or their enjoyment of the game has diminished. Fantastic food for thought, though!

  2. I think what you need to concentrate on is this:

    Sure, you are right, you did change the guild out from under these people and they found it a place they didn't really want to be anymore. But it's not like you sacrificed all these things for no gain. What about the people who are with you who ENJOY what the guild has become? Who want to play with you - you! - and your friends, but also want to raid with a little more focus? Who want to down bosses with you, progress with you, and be in your guild - what it has become now, not what it was before?

    I play in a guild that has made the same transition - from bottom 60ish to top 20ish. And yes, along the way people leave. But they also gain people like me, and like the 20 or 30 other people like me who want, enjoy, and support all the changes. You didn't sacrifice for nothing - you changed from being aligned with what some people want to being aligned with what other people want. And if you didn't have a guild full of people who feel the same way and support you, you wouldn't be where you are now!

    In the end, guilds change. No one can expect them to be static. The character of a guild is an ever changing thing. Sometimes they change to become more in line with your desires (which would be my firm belief if I was in yours). Sometimes they change away from what you desire (we've all had guilds we left without hard feelings). People come and go... you can't blame yourself. So don't beat yourself up! You can just lead the guild the way you want to lead it - the way you feel it should be - and people will come or go as they please.

    Good luck :)

    -- Anafielle